Football isn’t the only thing France are Champions of!
I’m sure we all know by now that France were victorious this weekend in a little competition called The World Cup. Having followed the French team with interest throughout I was in the mood for some French food for dinner last night. Luckily, French cooking is some of the tastiest out there and when it comes to cookware, it is hard to be the French classic, Le Creuset. So I dug the casserole out of the press, raided the fridge to see what I could rustle up and a version of the classic Chicken Fricassee was born.
A delicious and hearty meal of chicken and mushrooms in a rich cream sauce, made in one pot which means less washing up and all ready in less than an hour. Served with Mr. Kitchen Buyers rustic mashed potatoes, this is a dish that I will happily make again and was a definite crowd pleaser. Despite the list looking long, the ingredients were simple and mainly items that are in the fridge anyway. Also, this dish uses the brown meat from a chicken, so it was a very cost-effective and easy dinner for 4.
bacon lardons (or 2 rashers cut into cubes)
6 chicken drumsticks or 3 chicken legs
1 shallot, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick of celery, diced
220g mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
3 sprigs of parsley
3 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups of chicken broth
1/3 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of light cream
2 egg yolks
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp tarragon chopped
1. Prepare and chop all your ingredients. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper.
2. In a large pan, I used my Le Creuset Oval Casserole,but a large heavy bottom saucepan would also be good, heat 1 tsp of oil on medium heat. Cast Iron cookware should never be heated empty ans should never go above medium heat, it is so good at heat distribution that it doesn’t need high heat. Add the bacon and sauté until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving behind all that tasty bacon flavour.
3. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and set it aside. I use a larger casserole size, so as you can see, I could have fit a lot more in there.
4. Add the shallot, onion, carrot and celery, I didn’t have any celery in the fridge, so I omitted it. Sauté until soft and tender. Stir in the mushroom slices and cook until tender and glossy.
5. Stir in the flour and sauté until the flour is absorbed and no longer visible. Disclaimer! I had no plain flour, so used brown flour. I’m pleased to say it still thickened up nicely!
6. Pour in the broth, wine and 2 1/3 cups of water. Add salt and pepper. Tie the parsley, thyme and bay leaf with kitchen string and drop in.
7. Put the chicken back in and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Partially cover and allow the dish to simmer for 25-30 minutes until the meat is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot for a few minutes.
8. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the cream. Slowly stream in 1/4 cup of the sauce from the pot into the bowl, mixing at all times. This will prevent your eggs curdling, Now, pour this into the pot and bring to the boil. The sauce should look a little something like this…
9. Add the lemon juice, the butter, and the tarragon, stir and add the chicken back in. I added the bacon lardons back in as well, this wouldn’t be traditionally French but Cook in the sauce for a few more minutes and serve.
We served this with fluffy rustic mashed potatoes, roosters with the skin left on, easy peasy! Some crusty French bread with plenty of butter would also be gorgeous on the side. Happily, this is a dish that pairs wonderfully with French Champagne, so you can really get in the spirit and celebrate the win with our Gallic brothers! We settled for a chilled Californian Chardonnay, but no complaints here. If you are a red wine drinker, thanks to the dark meat of the chicken in this dish, a nice light Pinot Noir would also be very good.
It really was such a simple dish to make, definitively a weekend dinner, when you have that little bit more time but this made enough for a second helping the day after and you could certainly up the quantities to make a big batch for a dinner party. Simply bring the Le Creuset straight to the table and it will keep it warm for everybody to have seconds!
You could even make this the day before, chill in the fridge and heat it up. Pro Tip here, don’t put your cold Le Creuset into a hot oven. Put it into a cold oven and let both dish and oven heat up together. This will prevent your cast iron shattering.
Gadget Watch: There is a bit of chopping and prep work here, so I used my Joseph Joseph Index Chopping Board, which allowed me to separate veggies, raw meat and cooked meat very easily.